June 26, 2017

How I developed my obession with water and waterfalls

I have always been a landscape seascape painter but my interest and specialization in water, and particularly waterfalls, began after exploring the cascades; a collection of waterfalls in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

I walked the mile plus trail in the middle of September; it was cool and the leaves on the trees were in peak form. Gold and amber shaded me from a clear blue sky. It was an idyllic day I spent with my wife at the time: we heard moose bugling in the distance and were surrounded by wildlife throughout the thick canopy of deciduous trees and tall pines. Not knowing what to expect, we were excited to see the first waterfall, which fell down from a small outcrop surrounded by orange and red oak trees. The sound of the water rushing was a welcome sound and we were eager to explore the path of the stream, something I always loved to do growing up in New Jersey and visiting the mountains in Pennsylvania.

The first waterfall was uneventful, if not for the fact that we were eager to finally arrive at our destination. What was incredible was the fact that the waterfall lead to more falls. There were two waterfalls just above the first, which connected each. As we walked to the top of the trail the sound and the smell of the fresh clear water was intoxicating. We continued to explore, and by the time we were done we had found six separate waterfalls in varying degrees of height and form. I made mental notes for painting, captured snapshots and just got enthralled in the cool, fresh air and the clear blue water that rushed around us. On returning I decided to paint a series of waterfalls from the study of the cascades both from memory and snapshots.

Besides painting waterfalls, I started building them in fish tanks: each one had its distinct sound and very different form. I would paint landscapes amidst the multiple tanks in my studio and remember that day of exploring the cascades. Since then, I have travelled to many more places with waterfalls, attempting to capture the sound and beauty of water rushing, from Glacier National Park in Montana to the Pedernales falls in Texas, I have become obsessed with the sound, color and clarity of rushing water.

When someone sees my painting, I want them to feel the cold atmosphere and feel like they can hear the sound of the water. I also want the clarity of the water to be so that you can feel like you can touch the bottom. All of these aspects of water and waterfalls continue to inspire my work.

1 Comment on How I developed my obession with water and waterfalls

  1. Steve your writing and paintings take me to a different time and place. I can hear the water moving and I can picture the places you have been, please keep inspiring.

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